International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Jamaica was hit hard by the pandemic. An early lockdown in the Spring of 2020 helped contain the number of Covid-19 cases but the impact on the economy was severe, with real GDP shrinking by 10 percent. To counter the social and economic effects of the pandemic, the government temporarily reduced the fiscal balance target from +0.7 to -3 percent of GDP, increased spending on health and social protection and reduced the VAT rate. The central bank injected liquidity and encouraged loan moratoria to provide temporary support to the private sector. Growth is expected to rebound to 4.7 percent in 2021 and 4.3 percent in 2022. Downside risks to the outlook are significant, notably from Covid-19.
As emerging and developing economies accumulate more domestic sovereign debt, it is likely to play a larger role in the resolution of future sovereign debt crises. This paper analyzes when and how to restructure sovereign domestic debt in unsustainable debt cases while minimizing economic and financial disruptions. Key to determining whether or not domestic debt should be part of a sovereign restructuring is weighing the benefits of the lower debt burden against the fiscal and broader economic costs of achieving that debt relief. The fiscal costs may have to be incurred in the context of restructuring because of the need to maintain financial stability, to ensure the functioning of the central bank, or to replenish pension savings. A sovereign domestic debt restructuring should be designed to anticipate, minimize, and manage its impact on the domestic economy and financial system. Casting the net wide across claims can help boost participation in the restructuring by lowering the relief sought from each creditor group. A strategy that engages creditors constructively, and as transparently as possible, that relies on market-based incentives, and that presents the exchange as part of a consistent macroeconomic plan typically works best.